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Updated: November 22, 2013 11:30 IST

New faces challenge the old guard in Janakpuri

Vishal Kant
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Jagdish Mukhi. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
The Hindu
Jagdish Mukhi. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

BJP’s Jagdish Mukhi representing area since 1993; before that in erstwhile Metropolitan Council since 1979

Even as four-time MLA from Janakpuri Assembly constituency in West Delhi Jagdish Mukhi claims he will continue his winning streak given his track record, both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party have this time round fielded new faces against the BJP heavyweight.

While the Congress has fielded former DUSU president Ragini Nayak from Janakpuri, Rajesh Rishi of the AAP will take on Prof. Mukhi in his traditional turf, an area being represented in the Delhi Legislative Assembly by him since 1993 and before that in the erstwhile Metropolitan Council since 1979.

Prof. Mukhi said the reason behind his successive victories was his performance over the past three decades. “From providing basic necessities in some areas, I have moved on to providing comforts. And in areas where I have been in power since 1979, I have provided everything and moved on to luxuries. However, over the past five years, my entire focus has been on providing basic facilities in the areas under the Sitapuri municipal ward, which was brought under my constituency ahead of the last Assembly polls,” he said.

The constituency is a mix of upscale localities of Janakpuri, with a super-specialty hospital, four community halls, colleges and several schools in Janakpuri colony. On the other end of the spectrum are unauthorised areas under Sitapuri and Milap Nagar municipal wards.

While the areas under Milap Nagar municipal ward have basic facilities like roads, regular drinking water supply and sewerage, conditions in the Sitapuri ward — inhabited by the purvanchalis and migrants from neighbouring States — is pretty bad due to lack of proper roads, open drains and sewer-lines in some areas, besides drinking water scarcity.

Symbolic division

A drain running parallel to Pankha Road divides a well-developed Janakpuri colony on one side from the Sitapuri and Milap Nagar area on the other. The residents of Sitapuri allege the drain is symbolic of the way the sitting MLA treats people in his area.

“This area lacks in basic amenities because he looks down upon us since we come from jhuggis. He says ‘yeh to nale ke paar ke log hain [these are the people who live across the drain]’. No developmental work has been undertaken in our area in the past five years. But with the elections round the corner, roads are being laid. Sewer-lines are also being constructed, which has led to water-logging in the entire lane,” said Sheela, a resident of Chanakya Enclave.

AAP candidate Rajesh Rishi, a resident of Sitapuri ward, questions the quality of the work being done in the area by the MLA.

“Earlier the sewer-lines use to be 12 inches wide, but the lines being laid now are just nine inches. A large part of the area has been battling for clean drinking water since long, but nothing has been done on that front. The tanker mafia is doing brisk business in the area, but the sitting MLA has done little to solve the problem,” said Mr. Rishi.

Prof. Mukhi, however, said: “I have spent around Rs.100 crore for providing sewerage system over the past five years in Sitapuri alone. However, if you compare the area with what it was five years ago, there is a huge difference. I accept that work on several roads and sewerage system is still on, but not because of the elections. Anybody who understands the technicalities involved would not level such allegations. Technically it is not possible to construct roads just after the laying down sewer lines.”

The BJP candidate added that he has divided his constituency in three major parts according to the required level of development and has come up with separate handbills, containing a record of works done and the future plans.

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